Early in my blogging life, I pondered why the deceased’s qualifications might be carved on a headstone. It was the first time that I had read such detail and it did cause me to wonder why.
The time that has passed since then has allowed me to ponder why; to consider my opinion on my own degree; and, to observe many other qualifications engraved commemorating a life passed.
It is nearly thirty years since I received a piece of paper with Latin writing conferring me and acknowledging me as the holder of a degree. It has spent nearly all of the intervening period at the bottom of a drawer of a filing cabinet.
I am not sure, at this remove, that I respected the education received or the challenge set to make the grade. I suspect that this is an influencing factor in me rarely appending my qualifications to my name. They are only rolled out when really expected by the recipient of the piece of paper with my signature.
I have never thought of the letters as one of the four words that might best describe me.
Now is definitely too late. We have eyes in the front of our heads to allow us to look forward only – not any other direction. I wonder what might have happened with a different study choice and C.A.O. selection.
Seeing so many headstones with qualifications proudly displayed, I am jealous of those who were challenged by their education and who rose to the challenge; jealous of those who are so proud of their achievement that they far from hide it; and jealous of those who enjoy their work.
I have seen very many such headstones and now nod in admiration.
There are two careers in particular which demand a longer nod. The challenge of a sculptor to prepare a memorial to another sculptor – possibly his master – must be huge. On my Seamus Murphy trail, I have noted that he made the headstone to his sculptor father-in-law. ’No pressure there, then’ as the saying goes.
My admiration for the craft of the Blacksmith has been the subject of more than one or two blogs. The recording of ‘Blacksmith’ on a headstone always prompts a serious nod of appreciation and respect.
On Tuesday, in Abbeystrowry Cemetery, the headstone prompted a smile at the appropriateness of the perimeter treatment of the plot – the craft and skill did not die with James Hourihan.
A selection of other headstones where people are proud of the trade or training.
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